Successful long-term volume retention of an autologous fat graft is problematic. The presence of contaminating cells, tumescent fluid, and free lipid in the graft contributes to disparate outcomes. Better preparation methods for the fat graft before transplantation may significantly improve results.
Subcutaneous fat from 22 donors was divided and processed using various graft preparation methods: (1) no manipulation control, (2) gravity separation, (3) Coleman centrifugation, and (4) simultaneous washing with filtration using a commercially available system (Puregraft; Cytori Therapeutics, Inc., San Diego, Calif.). Fat grafts from various preparation methods were examined for free lipid, aqueous liquid, viable tissue, and blood cell content. Adipose tissue viability was determined by measuring glycerol release after agonist induction of lipolysis.
All test graft preparation methods exhibited significantly less aqueous fluid and blood cell content compared with the control. Grafts prepared by washing with filtration exhibited significantly reduced blood cell and free lipid content, with significantly greater adipose tissue viability than other methods.
Washing with filtration within a closed system produces a fat graft with higher tissue viability and lower presence of contaminants compared with grafts prepared by alternate methods.